Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Coup attempt in Venezuela?

"Venezuela is Latin America's biggest exporter of crude oil and has the world's largest petroleum reserves." - Brian Ellsworth and Andrew Cawthorne, Venezuela death toll rises to 13 as protests flare
Reuters 02/24/2014

The active political conflict in Venezuela continues, with street fights and 35 reported dead.

Now Nicolás Maduro's government has arrested three of his air force (Aviación) generals - José Daniel Machillanda Díaz, Oswaldo Hernández Sánchez y Carlos Alberto Millán Yaguaracuto - accusing them of attempting a military coup:

Venezuela arresta a 3 generales por intento de golpe de Estado La Opinión/EFE 03/25/2014

Maduro: “Capturamos a tres generales de la Aviación por intento de Golpe de Estado” Panorama 25.03.2014

Maduro informa de tres generales detenidos "por intento de golpe" Últimas Noticias 25.03.2014

Generales (A/V) Machillanda, Hernández y Millán querían dar el golpe Últimas Noticias 25.03.2014

This situation is worth watching for Americans.

I've tended to discount Venezuelan claims that the US government was directly involved in promoting these anti-government demonstrations over the past six weeks or so. Because I haven't seen what looked to be good direct evidence of it.

On the other hand, "Venezuela is Latin America's biggest exporter of crude oil and has the world's largest petroleum reserves." Neither American energy corporations nor the US government can be expected to be indifferent to what happens with the governance of Venezuela for a long time to come.

And given the fact that the US did back the failed coup attempt against Hugo Chavez' government in 2002, the real possibility of US involvement can't be ignored.

I'll quote again the piece by Masha Gessen that I quoted in my previous post, Crimea Is Putin’s Revenge Slate 03/21/25014:

Could the United States and its allies have undertaken anything other than military intervention to resolve the Kosovo crisis? In fact, they did. After the bombing campaign, which strengthened support for Milosevic and weakened his opponents, the U.S. poured cash into rebuilding the Serbian opposition. The funding was contingent on the disparate opposition groups agreeing to work together and attending regular coordination meetings held in Budapest, Hungary, and run by people whom participants understood to represent the State Department. The plan for the anti-Milosevic revolution was worked out in these meetings down to the smallest detail, including where the leaders of each of the 18 participating political organizations would be if mass protests broke out in Belgrade. They did, in October 2000, and Milosevic didn't seem to know what hit him. [my emphasis]
And Serbia didn't have "the world's largest petroleum reserves." I'm just sayin'.

Also, Russia just scored a hit in the big-power game in the Crimea. I'm sure someone in Washington has been thinking that a dramatic move someone in the United States' traditional imperial playground of Latin America could have some geopolitical benefit.

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